Police tape by vpickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Norfolk Police Lt. William Kelly demands his job back now that Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty. Kelly was fired in April after he donated to Rittenhouse's defense fund.
Kelly stated, "Everything I'm saying is just my personal opinion. I've been a homicide detective, a violent crimes investigator for years. I have a background. I watched the video of the shooting, and I'd seen the video of the journalists of Mr. Rittenhouse before the shooting and the protesters before the shooting, and I thought it painted a pretty clear picture that Mr. Rittenhouse had a very strong claim for self-defense."
Kelly donated $25 and added a message to Rittenhouse: "God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You've done nothing wrong. Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don't be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership."
Kelly says he felt he needed to donate to support the American ideal that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, which seems many have forgotten in recent years.
Norfolk city manager Chip Filer at the time responded that Kelly's "egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve."
“Egregious comments” such as “God Bless” and “Every rank and file police officer supports you.” Kelly intended his donation to be anonymous, understanding the importance of separating his political views and his uniform. While Kelly may have been out of bounds for lumping all police officers into his comment, he also made this comment anonymously, intending to keep his personal life and his work life separate.
However, The Guardian revealed the names of those who had donated, tracking him through his work email, which he used to place the donation.
Kelly further argues that his personal opinions have no bearing on his ability to do his job and therefore had no cause for his termination. Kelly also points out that had he had the opposite opinion, he would not have been terminated at all.
"If I had a different opinion and I donated to a fund for the victims and made comments about how Mr. Rittenhouse was a murderer, nobody would have cared or tried to get me fired." Kelly pointed out the hypocrisy of the department, referencing other members of the Norfolk Police Department who had been allowed to attend the BLM protests in uniform with no consequences. Apparently political views are allowed so long as they are the ones that the department deems “proper.”
On November 20th Candace Owens set up a donation page for Lt. William Kelly, which has since raised over $200,000.
"Kelly is a 19-year veteran and a father of three. That did not matter. He made the contribution anonymously so as not to draw attention or association to the police force. That also did not matter. Since his dismissal, William "Bill" Kelly has been surviving on his savings and his wife's teacher salary.” Says Owens when asked why she created the donation page.
She added, “All police officers have a right to privately support issues and causes they care about in their off-duty time.”
Rine Jolly is a political writer from rocket city. She is an avid supporter of the military, and a mother. Rine studied English and journalism in North Carolina and is passionate about political topics today.